Smile Politely

Weekender: October 5–7


Streb: Forces, Krannert Tryon Festival Theatre, Friday, 7:00 p.m. | Saturday, 3:00 p.m., $10+

Elizabeth Streb’s PopAction choreography “weaves dance, athletics, boxing, rodeo, the circus, and Hollywood-style stunt work.” In this production, Streb is joined by trapeze virtuosos Noe and Ivan España, the MIT Media Lab, and composer David Van Tieghem.

Recommended for ages 4 and up. (TN)

Here’s a little bit of what you’re in for:


44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Krannert Studio Theatre, Friday–Saturday, 7:30 p.m., $9+

This production is part of the Plays for Presidents Festival 2012, and you can read all about it in Jeff’s preview.

This evening, you can join the cast and crew at Stage 5 for an after-show celebration. On Saturday (Oct. 6), there will be a free talkback in the theatre. (TN)

How I Learned to Drive, Station Theatre, Friday–Sunday, 8:00 p.m., $15/Fri.–Sat. | $10/Sun.

Paula Vogel’s play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Play. It is being directed at the Station by Thom Schnarre, and you can read his excellent preview here.

And look for our review of the play’s opening night next week. (TN)

Like Pioneers, Canoe Canoe, Hume at Mike ‘N Molly’s — 10 p.m., $5

This show is my editor’s pick this week in The Overture, and I’m going to have to recommend this one again. Not only are you losing more and more chances to see a show in the beer garden before the weather gets too shitty, but you’ll be missing out on three pretty great bands if you decide not to go to this on Friday night. Hume is an interesting outfit from Baltimore, and it’s kind of hard to pin down what kind of music they make. It’s sort of on the ambient side, while mashing in some baroque pop elements. Canoe Canoe is a pretty sporadically bombastic indie outfit. Just listen to “Haunted Dreams” and you’ll get what I’m talking about. Like Pioneers mix a lot of elements of indie rock into a nice tightly knit package and make it work. Check out their new record, Oh, Magic, on their Bandcamp. Definitely a good set of bands taking on MNM’s to start out the weekend. (PS)

Gabe Liebowitz of Dastardly, Megan Johns at Memphis on Main — 10:00 p.m., $5

If you’re not convinced that my pick above is right for you, maybe this one will work out better. One of the more attractive shows (to me at least) to be held at this venue in the last few months is this one right here. Howler Gabe Liebowitz of Chicago’s Dastardly will be “playin’ some originals and some hitz, takin’ requests,” as he puts it in the event page, and Megan Johns is going to add to the mix as well. If you haven’t heard Dastardly’s work, I’d go back and check out the couple of EPs they have from this year, Bury Me In The Country and their newest one, Ballads In Blue. Hell, maybe even their debut. Whatever you hear, you’ll probably enjoy. (PS)

Wayne “The Train” Hancock at the Rose Bowl, 8:00 p.m., $15

SP has interviewed Hancock a couple of times on past visits, and he’s been to C-U many times since then. The “King of Juke Joint Swing” has a voice that sounds more like a jumpy Billie Holiday (h/t to Molly for that) than Hank Williams, but after years on the road, he knows how to get asses moving. Maybe not in the same way as Big Freedia, but then again, he’s playing to a different crowd. Don’t miss out. (JG)

Road trip to Decatur: Urbana High School football v. Eisenhower — 7:00 p.m.; Decatur Eisenhower High School, $3 or whatever they charge these days

Let me tell you a touch about Urbana High School football. In the 80s, the school hired John Oaks. He took the team, made it into a winner, and was promptly hired by Springfield Lanphier, where he stayed until the end of his career. Not sure what happened next, but Mason Minnes took the reigns at some point, and honestly, screwed the pooch. Outside of 1996, when the team, led by Tracy Pettigrew (might’ve been ’95?), lost in the playoffs in the first round, UHS has wallowed in obscurity. Pathetic. Oh sure, Morris Virgil was a back there, and he was awesome, but football is a TEAM sport in the true sense of the word.

This year is different. Urbana has rattled off five straight wins, including victories against cross-town rivals Centennial and Central. They upset #6 Normal U-High last week. They are primed.

Listen. I am not the kind of man who is going to drive 45 minutes to watch Urbana play football on a Friday. I’m too old, I’m too tired. I have things to do. But I can sure as shit tell you if you are from Urbana and have any interest in football, 2012 could be the year. They have no home games.

You have to move to see them. (SF)


Beer and Chili Cook-off, Downtown Urbana — $5; 3:00 p.m.

Let me tell you about this; there won’t be enough chili to go around, but there will be over 150 beers from which to choose. This shit’s bananas. If the 54 degree temperatures are bumming you out, go spend a few hours slugging 4 oz. tastes of fermented wheat or barley liquid. It will warm you up. And that right soon.

Downtown Urbana needs things like this, and bad. No one appreciates what a good art gallery does for a Downtown more than me. Well, that’s bull, because there are plenty more people than me who appreciate them. But that’s not the point. Urbana needs people milling about, looking into the nooks and crannies of its historic and under-utlized city center. And what better than beer and chili to make that happen on a cold autumnal day. (SF)

Papa Piero’s chicken fettucine, The Great Impasta, 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m., $15 bucks or so

The Great Impasta is now the most over-looked restaurant in Champaign-Urbana. I can’t even tell you why I don’t go there, considering how much I loved the goddamned place back in the 90s and early aughts. Sure, they moved from Downtown Champaign to Lincoln Square in Downtown Urbana — but that’s a ridiculous reason to ignore it.

What I am talking about here is bad for you. Papa Piero’s Chicken and Cream pasta is the stuff of dreams, even if it’s got flaws. It’s a heaping pile of steaming house-made fettucine, filled with chunks of, you guessed it, chicken that has been marinated in garlic and oil and spices. It’s pure comfort food. And with the weather having turned, now is a great time to indulge.

You’ll need the calories to make it through the long winter that lies ahead. (SF)

Photo thanks to Lek Unar via Google Images

Midtown Fall Festival, Boneyard, 12:00–7:00 p.m.

The lineup for this all-day event includes music, a food and beer tent, and some kid activities like scarecrow decorating and “pumpkins on parade,” whatever that means. But the event that I’m really looking forward to seeing is the Boneyard pumpkin toss that goes from 1–4 p.m. What a fantastic mess. I think I’ll drop by with my camera. (SK)

Dublin O’Neils Anniversary Bash/Block Party, Noon–Midnight

Dublin O’Neils turns one this weekend, so they’ve invited the “Jameson Girls” to celebrate in the afternoon (shots, anyone?),  and they’ll have Guinness, Harp, Magners, Bells Two Hearted, and Lakefront Pumpkin Ale on draft. As always, they’ll celebrate with live music, this time from Abnormous, Nickel and Dimes, Upshot, 90’s Daughter, The Sugar Prophets, and Sun Stereo. (SK)


Twin City Derby Girls’ last bout of the season, Skateland in Savoy, 7:00 p.m., $8/advance, $10/door

The ‘Paign will play The Damagin’ Dames (last year’s championship winners) in a final rematch of the rival teams.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the bout starts at 7:00 p.m. Children eight and under will be admitted free and special rates apply for groups of six or more. Tickets are available here.

A portion of all bout proceeds during the 2012 season will be donated to the league’s partner charity, R.A.C.E.S. (Rape Advocacy, Counseling, and Education Services), a local nonprofit organization that supports survivors of sexual assault. (TN)

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